First Dog-to-Human Plague Transmission Identified

Posted on May 28, 2015 16:01

According to a new report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed that a dog was the cause of a small pneumonic plague outbreak in Colorado in 2014.

The CDC said that this was the first incidence it had found in the US of a dog transmitting the disease to a human, and it could also be the first dog-to-human plague transmission in the US in almost 100 years.

The CDC had found that an American pit bull terrier infected with pneumonic plague was the cause of the plague in 2014, which began when a middle-aged Colorado resident was hospitalized for the disease on 8 July.

The hospital in which the resident had been admitted had first been identified has having Pseudomonas luteola, but further testing found that the actual cause was the bacteria Yersinia pestis, which causes a form of pneumonic plague.

In an investigation by the Tri-County Health Department (TCHD), the man’s family members were interviewed, and it was found that his two-year-old pit bull terrier fell ill on 24 June. The dog exhibited symptoms like coughing blood, shortness of breath and fever, and was euthanized on 25 June. After the owner fell ill, the dog’s lung and liver tests were tested for Yersinia pestis. The tests returned positive, indicating that the man did contract pneumonic plague from the dog.

Also, the CDC revealed that two employees of the veterinary clinic became ill with the disease, along with a female in close contact with the owner of the dog.

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